History Hunt 2023: On location with filmmaker Bill Rebane

Merrill Historical Society. Tina L. Scott photo.


The Merrill Historical Society (MHS) will hold “History Hunt 2023: On location with filmmaker Bill Rebane” on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The event is designed as a fun fundraiser for the MHS, and this year, the theme will revolve around the films made in Lincoln County locations “back in the day” when many of us were old enough to remember the excitement of putting our area “on the map,” so to speak.
Ito “Bill” Rebane was the man behind the movies, the most famous and successful of which, the “Giant Spider Invasion” was distributed worldwide.
This year’s History Hunt will focus on his work, the films, and the local locations for the films.
“A History Hunt combines a scavenger hunt, driving/walking rally, and trivia contest,” organizers at the MHS said. “Participants follow clues to locations to learn about the history of the area.”
“It is NOT a race,” they emphasize. Participants can–and are encouraged to–deviate from the route to “enjoy and explore” the places they discover along the way.
Check-in time for the event is between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 7 at the MHS, 100 E. Third St. in Merrill.
Teams are required to register in advance, and registration will close on Wednesday, Oct. 4. Registration forms are available at the MHS or online at MerrillHistory.org. There is a registration fee, with a discount for MHS members. The fee includes “History Hunt driving directions, the guidebook, three raffle prize drawing tickets, and admission to the After Party,” organizers said. Don’t forget to give your team a catchy name.
“The minimum team size is two people, because you need a driver and a navigator, but your team can be as large as you would like.”
Learn more about Bill Rebane, who came to the U.S. with his parents at age 14 and settled in Chicago, where he would later begin his film career.
In 1967, Bill moved to Wisconsin with his wife, Barbara, purchasing an old Lincoln County farm they turned into their home and Bill’s film studio.
“The object of the 2023 Hunt is to find various locations used by Bill Rebane with your 3D glasses and your guidebook and then travel there to learn the backstory of these locations that appear in Bill’s movies, taking some selfies along the way,” organizers said. “There will also be restaurants or local taverns who have specials for the hungry and thirsty ‘hunters’ along the way.”
Costumes are highly encouraged. “Costumes always make the event more fun for the teams and the hosts,” organizers said. “Be as creative as you can in showing off costumes of movie directors and movie characters.”
At 3 p.m., the hunt concludes and the After Party begins. Here the group will enjoy reliving the experience of their day and awards will be given out for: Best Team Name, Best Costumes, and Best Social Media Presence.
To sponsor the event or donate raffle prizes, or to become a member of the MHS, call 715.536.5652 or email [email protected]. More information is also available at: MerrillHistory.org.

The Merrill Historical Society is a private nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation. Their mission is to educate the public about the Merrill area’s heritage using the unique historical and cultural resources they collect and preserve.

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